The Chapman Report from Shrewsbury: ‘sort out the lack of clean sheets or else’

Jake: ‘another step backwards’

Salut! Sunderland regrets that it is still not possible to post comments because of a technical problem we are trying to resolve</strong >

Monsieur Salut writes: I was there and may have something to say. Likewise John Marshall. But Sunderland match reports from Bob Chapman, who just cannot ditch that home-and-away habit, are always welcome. Here’s what Bob made of another disappointing SAFC away day …

Read moreThe Chapman Report from Shrewsbury: ‘sort out the lack of clean sheets or else’

Sixer’s Sevens: Shrewsbury Town1 Sunderland 0, and a weekend away is spoiled

NB: our technical problems have not been completely fixed. Readers cannot post comments. We are working on this.

In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.

John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith wasn’t at Shrewsbury this time round. Nor was I, neuropathy having more or less put an end to my travels before torrential rain shut down the railways and extinguished my last fleeting hopes of getting there. It didn’t look too good at half time, according to  a half-time text from John Marshall to Pete  (“Pretty lacklustre showing no real attacking threat”) while the man himself opined “huffed and puffed but not good enough”, and I suspect it wasn’t the weather that spoiled Colin’s weekend break, from what our leader sent at the final whistle:

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Shrewsbury Town1 Sunderland 0, and a weekend away is spoiled

A look back at what Salut! Sunderland’s Sixer made of Shrewsbury Town and its meadows

Pete Sixsmith

NB: we’re back after our technical problems – but you, the readers, aren’t yet back as fully as we’d like. Unfortunately, you cannot post comments. We are working on this.

In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group.  Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.

If you do try to post a comment here, it will be stored in our beneath-the-bonnet files and one of these days, one of us will get round to reproducing them all …

Colin Randall writes: an appalling admission but yes, this is my debut for the season. Just back from France before the drawbridge is raised, I am heading for Shrewsbury hoping to witness an away win to match Phil Parkinson’s stomping first experience of being in charge of a home game. Pete Sixsmith’s superb series on his own first encounters with Sunderland’s opposing teams and their grounds ran its course last season. Here, though, is a reminder of one of its many fine moments – memories of both the old Gay Meadow ground and its successor, New Meadow …  

Read moreA look back at what Salut! Sunderland’s Sixer made of Shrewsbury Town and its meadows

Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

Read morePortsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

Read moreIpswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

From Rotherham to Wycombe Wanderers via Shrewsbury Town, Southend United and Tranmere Rovers: our third financial ramble

Here are the last five of the clubs in League One apart from Blackpool, Bolton, Bury and Sunderland, who will arrive presently, by which I mean when I get round to it.

As ever, visiting fans are welcome to post comments, corrections, updates and their thoughts on their and other clubs’ prospects for the season.

For earlier posts in this series try these links:

Clubs beginning A-L: Rambling through Accrington, Coventry and Ipswich to Lincoln. How do Sunderland’s rivals shape up financially?

Clubs from M (MK Dons) to R (Rochdale): From MK Dons to Rochdale via Oxford, Peterborough and Portsmouth: it’s a short financial ramble

Read moreFrom Rotherham to Wycombe Wanderers via Shrewsbury Town, Southend United and Tranmere Rovers: our third financial ramble

The Salut! Sunderland Haway awards: Peterborough, Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the running

Jake: ‘thanks to all who participate’. Click this image to see all of this season’s interviews


It has become
a bit of a stuck old gramophone record, Salut! Sunderland‘s pride in a tremendous season of Who are You? interviews with opposing supporters.

Judging is at an advanced stage for our HAWAYs – annual awards for Highly Articulate Who are You?s – and with only a couple of sets of votes still awaited, front-runners are emerging.

League One has been a goldmine for the series (not forgetting our cup-game interviewees from other divisions)

As Monsieur Salut put it when writing to the judges: “I could have put them all in a hat and drawn three at random, so good have so many of the interviews been.”

Read moreThe Salut! Sunderland Haway awards: Peterborough, Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the running

Sixer’s Substitute’s Soapbox: Shrewsbury share the spoils at the Stadium of Light

Malcolm Dawson writes……..with games coming thick and fast at this time of year and with Pete Sixsmith having to come up with regular “First Time Ever” pieces we agreed on the way to the ground that I would relieve him of his Soapbox duties for this game.

For me this was a day of contrasts. For much of the game we looked by far the better side without ever appearing dominant at any time. We played some lovely possession football, with some marvellous flowing passing movements, but far more often were wasteful in possession. There was some stout defending, crisp tackling and players hustling the opposition, yet at other times The Shrews seemed able to break us down far too easily, as tackles were missed and challenges lost.

The crowd were patient and at times as loud as anything I’ve heard this season at the Stadium of Light, but for much of the game were quiet.

We scored as fine a goal as you are ever likely to witness. About twenty years ago I was at Portman Road as Danny Dichio, Nicky Summerbee, Alan Johnston, Mickey Gray and John Mullin combined to score such a fantastic goal against Ipswich Town that it still lives on in my memory. I suspect that Josh Maja’s bullet header yesterday will do likewise.

Oviedo, breaking from defence, played the ball down the line to McGeady, who passed it inside to Maguire. His flick towards Power was allowed to run on and Oviedo who had continued at pace crossed first time to Maja who running into the area at full pelt, headed home powerfully from inside the six yard box. This was one touch football at its finest, played at speed and incredibly difficult to defend. It epitomised the style of football that Jack Ross wants his teams to play and it came at the perfect time with half time approaching.

Oh wow oh it’s Maja – you know (again!)

Unfortunately, by then we were already a goal behind. No excuses. Just like they had against Walsall in the cup replay, for the first twenty minutes, I thought the team looked sluggish and off the pace. I can’t criticise their effort. It wasn’t like they weren’t trying but just that nothing seemed to be coming off. Maguire ran around a lot without really creating any threat. Gooch, dribbled and twisted and turned and inevitably tried to do too much and lost possession. Shrewsbury, who even at 0-0 and hardly any time gone looked intent on wasting as much time as possible were happy to defend deep and let Baldwin and Flanagan carry the ball out of defence, but far too often their passing let them down. It was if we were constantly looking for the game changing pass and it wasn’t working.

The visitors on the other hand were looking threatening on the break and had by far the better of that first twenty minutes or so but had failed to find the target. After only 4 minutes they looked to get on the score sheet from their first corner but Gooch managed to get the ball away after a bit of pinball in and around the penalty box. Cattermole won a challenge before bringing the ball away from the danger zone and Baldwin made a decent headed clearance following a free kick and Waterfall went close with a header. And that was just in the first ten minutes.

The pre-match minute’s silence had been respectfully observed but the crowd started off in fine voice. The travelling fans were also making themselves heard and at one point started singing “your ground’s too big for you” and I thought our fans missed an opportunity by not singing it back to them – The New Meadow having a capacity of less than 10,000 and an average home gate of only half that, thanks mainly to ourselves, Barnsley and Peterborough taking a large contingent to swell the ranks.

Our lack of penetration quietened the home support and the Shrews were closing us down in those early stages, when we weren’t giving the ball away needlessly. We had perhaps one effort but Maguire’s long range shot was wide and didn’t really cause Arnold in the Salop goal any problems.

We seemed to have weathered the storm and I was just starting to think we were getting into the game when we gave away a goal. Anthony Grant brought the ball into the Sunderland half and found himself confronted by make shift full back Luke O’Nien. He looked to knock the ball past O’Nien but it seemed to me that he knew he had no chance of collecting it before it would be cleared so he ran into O’Nien and fell over. No doubt there will be plenty of TV pundits and Shrewsbury fans who will insist it was a foul but to me it just looked as if our boy was static and Grant was looking for the free kick. The ref saw it his way. The resultant kick was knocked into the box, across the face of goal, a crowd of players jumped for it and it came off Waterfall and found the back of the net. A decent enough goal when it’s one of yours but one that you feel could have been defended better when it’s your side that have conceded.

Not for the first time we found ourselves behind in a game most in the crowd would expect us to win easily. Before the game I had said to Pete that this was one of those teams I always feel nervous about because I almost expect us to slip up. But this team don’t get phased when they go behind and stick to the game plan, but with 40 minutes on the clock we still hadn’t created a meaningful opportunity to score until Tom Flanagan latched onto an Oviedo corner which had been driven in low and hard. The Irishman controlled it well and broke into space by the right hand post, drove in a low shot which the keeper somehow got a foot to and sent it out wide to the left. The referee inexplicably gave a goal kick.

Charlie Wyke courtesy of www.safc.com

Things were about to change when Maja equalised in the 44th minute and with five minutes of added time I was hoping that we might even grab another before the half time whistle.

It wasn’t to be and we came out unchanged for the second period. Brian Oviedo spent the time when the linesman were checking the goal nets to supplicate himself, like Pope John Paul II getting off an aeroplane, but his prayers were in vain as he hurt his back falling awkwardly and was replaced by Reece James after only another five minutes. Whilst this was happening Charlie Wyke was warming up and once he’d put those elastic band thingies on his ankles I knew he was coming on and indeed he did for the industrious but somewhat out of sorts Chris Maguire.

We played much better in the second half and whilst Shrewsbury continued to waste time looked for a way to break them down. Although we had a succession of corners it was actually Shrewsbury who had the best chance in the first fifteen minutes of the second half but John-Lewis fired high and wide, whilst I resisted the urge to make a pun about him being a bit weak in the home and leisure department.

Welcome back Roadrunner

Haynes had had Lynden Gooch in his pocket all afternoon and eventually the American was taken off as Duncan Watmore was brought on. The Roadrunner’s pace is a threat at this level and Charlie Wyke gave us a physical presence we had been lacking, but we still weren’t getting much on target. Power had a couple of long range efforts, one too high and one blocked, Wyke put a header over and Watmore’s shot from outside the box was also too high.

There was plenty of added time and plenty of incident. From a corner on the right the ball fell to Tom Flanagan whose shot was blocked, then Baldwin had a decent sight of goal but his shot shows why he is a centre back and not a striker, as it went to the left of the post. MacGeady worked his way down the left, played a lovely ball to Watmore who got to the dead ball line and fired in a cross which looked certain to be converted by Wyke, but defender Mat Sadler somehow got in ahead of him and sent the ball over the bar from only a yard or two out. This after Baldwin had done his best to score at the wrong end when McLaughlin did well to save his mis-kick and was down quickly at the near post to collect John-Lewis’s back heel. The Lads kept plugging away, trying to find that last gasp winner, Maja and James both trying their luck but in the end we had to settle for a draw.

Disappointing but we are still unbeaten at home and with exactly half of our season gone we are still there or there abouts with games in hand. With a couple of away games in the next six days another four points would be a good return, but it is our home form that needs to improve because whilst we still haven’t suffered defeat at the SoL, Shrewsbury Town is just the latest in a succession of sides, that includes Fleetwood, Oxford, and Wycombe we would be have been hoping to beat. Those six points would have seen us just one point behind Portsmouth but there’s still a long way to go. With Wyke and Watmore getting back to full fitness Jack Ross will have more options available and who knows what the January window will bring.

I’m off to the seaside on Tuesday and hoping for a Happy New Year. Ha’way the Lads.

Highlights courtesy of www.safc.com here

Shrewsbury Who are You? Which SAFC man is so passionate he’s ‘absolutely mental’?

Click on Ollie Warner’s photo to see the full list of Who are You? interviews so far this season

Read on for the answer to the question posed in the headline. Ollie Warner, co-presenter of the Shrewsbury Town podcast Salopcast, came up trumps with great replies to our questions ahead of Saturday’s game. He’ll be there, looking forward to seeing a new ground, and feels Sunderland will have to buy in January or settle for the playoffs …

Read moreShrewsbury Who are You? Which SAFC man is so passionate he’s ‘absolutely mental’?

Shrewsbury v Sunderland: The view from the middle ground

I’m busy today, with stuff to do, so I only have time for some quick thoughts. Don’t forget these are from someone who hasn’t been to a game since the season opener. And don’t forget Pete Sixsmith has already done us his usual masterly report, which you’ll find at this link.

Read moreShrewsbury v Sunderland: The view from the middle ground